by Colin Campbell
HIGHLAND Council has released an artist’s impression of a planned new-look Academy Street in Inverness.
Where’s the obvious flaw?
There are no people on this street.
Well, not quite none, but I can only count five, and a cyclist.
Are they anticipating another lockdown?
We might have anticipated that council officials, before presenting this image for public consumption, would immediately have spotted this blindingly obvious defect and gone back to the artist and asked him or her to add in a bit more human activity, a lot more in fact.
Any changes in Academy Street are expected to bring in more people to shop in a bustling “pedestrian friendly” city centre and increase trade in stores.
So any artist’s impression of it should not resemble a precinct at the height of covid.
It give me a chilling reminder of Academy Street and the city centre as it was two years ago.
You do not need to be a serial council basher to question why one or two of the £80,000 a year boys and girls at the top didn’t take took one look at this image and say, “Hold on a minute…”
And it’s not a trivial matter. It’s quite reasonable to ask if they weren’t sharp enough to immediately spot what’s wrong with this utterly desolate image devoid of humanity, are they sharp enough in any way to follow it through and turn it into reality?
The council launched this plan with quite a fanfare.
It’s startling bordering on astonishing that absolutely no one spotted the basic flaw in a futuristic depiction of what’s intended to be a a very busy street, with only five people and a cyclist in it.
Are they taking this seriously or not?
Artist’s impressions are still a sensitive issue following the Gathering Place shambles, where the depiction of riverside “artwork” released in 2017, and used over and over again, bore no relation whatsoever to the ugly concrete slab that’s there now.
That was the first evidence that the ranks of councillors and officials then were populated by too many who were either complacent or were dimwits, or were both.
I hope this ridiculous impression of change planned for Academy Street isn’t the first sign that after the elections the new council may have a similar problem.
It’s their first big Inverness project since they took over.
And the fact that no one thought to question the future disappearance of the human race from a main part of the city centre is not exactly the most promising start.